Ontario Workers' Compensation Attorney
Work-related injuries occur every day across the nation, affecting an average of seven million workers each year. Even with rigorous safety standards in place, American workers are constantly at risk for experiencing an unexpected accident or developing an illness or medical condition due to workplace hazards. Workers in physically demanding jobs like manufacturing and construction are most likely to sustain such injuries, but accidents can and do happen at any time, regardless of occupation or industry. Thankfully, under the state workers’ compensation system, injured workers can pursue compensation for the damages they incurred due to their workplace injuries. However, these guidelines can be difficult to understand and overwhelming to navigate on your own, especially when you are attempting to recover from an injury.
The only way to ensure you have the best chance of recovering fair compensation for your work injury is to retain the services of an experienced Ontario workers’ compensation attorney. At Kampf, Schiavone & Associates, our dedicated work accident attorneys can help you understand the requirements of the system, protect your rights, and help you secure the highest compensation award.
What Is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation is a system that is designed to help employees recover expenses resulting from a workplace injury or an injury sustained while performing job-related tasks. Each state administers its own workers’ compensation system and requires injured workers to meet certain guidelines to prove their claim’s validity. The state requires most employers to pay into the state system to cover claims made by their employees. By submitting a claim within the statute of limitations, an injured worker can receive compensation for hospital bills, physician’s visits, lost income, lost earning potential, disability, vocational training, and other expenses needed to complete full rehabilitation.
Who Is Eligible for Workers’ Compensation in Ontario, CA?
In Ontario, California, workers’ compensation is considered a no-fault system, meaning that you do not need to demonstrate that your employer was negligent to receive benefits. Even if your own careless or negligent behavior directly contributed to the accident that caused your injury, you can pursue workers’ compensation. To do so, your employer must pay into the system, and you must have sustained your injury on the worksite or while completing work tasks. However, the insurance company will deny your claim if your injury occurred while you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs, violating federal or state laws, or disobeying company policy.
What Does Workers’ Compensation Cover?
Workers’ compensation covers injuries that occurred due to traumatic events, as well as long-term illnesses, diseases, or medical conditions that you developed during employment or were worsened by your job duties. Common accidental injuries include:
- Neck and back injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Broken bones
- Dislocated joints
- Strains, sprains, or tears of muscles, tendons, or ligaments
Long-term conditions typically consist of repetitive motion or stress related injuries, like chronic back pain, tennis elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome, and injuries resulting from inflammation. You can also pursue compensation for work-related illnesses that develop from exposure to hazardous materials, physical or psychological conditions experienced because of work stress, or pre-existing conditions that became worse during your employment.
What Benefits Does Workers’ Comp Cover?
A valid workers’ compensation claim can allow you to recover the following:
- Medical benefits. A workers’ compensation award covers the full cost of the expenses you incurred for medical treatment of your injury, including emergency care, surgery, physical therapy, prescription medication, medical devices, the cost involved with traveling to and from doctor’s appointments, and sometimes the cost of continuing treatment.
- Temporary disability benefits. An injury causing you to miss over three workdays or requiring hospitalization makes you eligible for temporary disability benefits. These benefits occur in the form of wage replacement and typically equal about 66% of the normal income you earned before your injury. When two years temporary disability benefits have passed, you either no longer continue receiving these benefits or you become eligible for permanent disability benefits.
- Permanent disability benefits. A permanent, long-term, or life-altering injury that prohibits you from returning to work can qualify for permanent disability. The amount of the award varies based on your condition at assessment, your occupation prior to the accident, your age, and your disability percentage estimated by your physician. This award can range from under $1,000 to more than $260,000.
- Supplemental job displacement benefits. When the injury you sustained inhibits you from resuming your previous position, you can receive benefits for vocational retraining. These benefits cover as much as $10,000 in the form of cash, training, or vouchers for assistance with a job search if your employer does not allow you to return to your prior position within 60 days of recovery.
- Death benefits. If an injured worker dies, their surviving family members can receive death benefits. The amount varies based on how many dependents the worker leaves behind and typically begins to disburse 365 days from the death date.
Can I File a Personal Injury Claim Against My Employer?
The workers’ compensation system was established to protect both workers and their employers by offering speedy restitution for injuries without litigation. It allows injured workers to recover compensation for physician and hospital-related expenses, lost wages, and other damages in exchange for surrendering the right to pursue a personal injury claim against their employer.
By making regular, mandatory contributions into the workers’ compensation system, employers receive financial protection from the possibility of expensive personal injury litigation. Exceptions to this rule include incidents where the employer willfully caused the worker’s injury, and injuries sustained due to involvement from a third party, such as a manufacturer, transportation company, or contractor.
Do You Need a Lawyer to Get a Workers’ Comp Settlement?
Although you do not need a lawyer to receive your workers’ comp benefits, securing an Ontario workers’ compensation attorney is the best way to ensure you receive a fair settlement and that your benefits are paid promptly. Lawyers can guide you through filing your claim, ensure your claim is valid, help you submit required documentation, and supervise the processing of your claim to confirm you receive your compensation.
If your employer denies your claim, an attorney will guide you through the appeals process. If the employer attempts to retaliate against you for filing a claim, an attorney will hold them accountable for this illegal behavior. Insurance companies are well-known for using dishonest, misleading tactics to avoid paying valid claims, and lawyers can protect your rights, conduct negotiations, and litigate your case before a judge if necessary.
When Should I Contact a Workers’ Comp Attorney?
In some situations, you may be able to secure workers’ compensation benefits without an attorney. If your work injury is minor, did not require significant medical care, did not make you miss work, and did not involve part of your body already suffering from a pre-existing condition, you may not need an attorney. In these cases, your settlement will not be very substantial, so you are less likely to experience issues with your employer or their insurance company.
However, even seemingly simple claims can be derailed at any point in the process. Contact an Ontario workers’ compensation attorney immediately if you experience any of the following:
- Your employer refuses to admit that the injury was work-related, denies your claim, or fails to pay your benefits promptly.
- Your compensation amount is insufficient to fully cover your medical expenses or lost earnings during recovery.
- Your injury caused a temporary or permanent disability that prevents you from resuming your previous job, hinders your ability to perform work tasks, or makes it impossible to re-enter the workforce.
- You receive or plan to apply for Social Security benefits.
- Your boss retaliated against you after you filed a claim, taking actions such as cutting your hours, reducing your pay, making the work environment hostile, demoting you, lowering your position in the company, or terminating your job entirely.
- Your injury was caused by serious misconduct on the part of your employer or negligence by a third party.
Recover the Maximum Compensation for Your Injury
If you experienced a workplace injury and are struggling with paying your medical bills, contact the law firm of Kampf, Schiavone & Associates today. For over three decades, our expert team of Ontario workers’ compensation attorneys has provided the highest quality legal representation to injured clients in California. We have helped our clients recover over $250 million in verdicts and settlements.
We implement extensive legal knowledge, proven negotiation strategies, and trial-tested litigation skills to advocate on behalf of our clients and ensure they can recover the maximum compensation award for their workplace injuries. Our impressive record of successful settlements and courtroom verdicts has made us one of the most well-respected and sought-after law firms in California, and we are ready to use our talents to fight for you.
Schedule a consultation with Kampf, Schiavone & Associates today to learn more about how our firm can help you recover fair compensation for your injuries. Our founder and managing partner W. Roger Kampf worked for a major insurance company at the beginning of his career, giving him a unique perspective on how to effectively approach a case to secure the optimal outcome. With our Ontario attorneys on your side, you can focus your efforts on healing from your injuries while we negotiate with your employer’s insurance company to deliver the best results in your case.